It occurred to me I’ve never done a Black History Month post before. I try not to distinguish ghosts any differently than I distinguish people. (That is to say, I try to see people for the people they are, not for the color of their skin, their race, religious beliefs, gender, etc.)
However, it’s hard to ignore the history of our country. Once upon a time there was a thing called slavery. People were made to be property just because of the color of their skin.
We’ve all heard the stories of some of the types of violence slaves endured and that sometimes they died as a result of the abuse leveled against them. Do the ghosts of their troubled and tortured souls still roam the slave quarters, plantations, and fields where they once lived and worked?
Two places that I think have particularly heinous and tragic slave abuse histories are Hickory Hill and the LaLaurie House.
To the ghosts that may still be lingering in these places, I am so sorry for the pain and suffering you knew. This is my humble attempt to honor your souls and wish that your restless spirits may one day find peace.
I also hope that in re-telling your stories (because their oft repeated in ghost circles) it reminds others we should never forget how cruel people will be to each other if allowed. If we remember our failings we’ll be less likely to repeat our mistakes. Your deaths shouldn’t be in vain.
HICKORY HILL (aka “THE OLD SLAVE HOUSE) – EQUALITY, ILLINOIS
Hickory Hill was built by a man named John Hart Crenshaw. Illinois didn’t technically allow slavery back in Crenshaw’s day (circa 1830s and 1840s) but, as with so many things, there was a loophole. Slaves could be leased for one-year terms for certain reasons. One of them being to work in salt mines. It was a loop hole Crenshaw took advantage of.
But Crenshaw, a respected businessman and church figure, had a dark side. He kidnapped black families and held them hostage in the third floor attic of Hickory Hill until he could sell them into slavery. (I like the way Prairie Ghosts put it. Sort of a “reverse underground railroad.”)
Reports of paranormal activity in Hickory Hill, which is currently closed to the public, include voices in the attic, singing that sounds like spirituals, and moaning.
THE LALAURIE HOUSE – NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
It’s always the innocent looking ones, isn’t it? In 1834, New Orleans society judged Delphine LaLaurie, wife of Dr. Louis LaLaurie, to be friendly, charming, and cheerful.
But the public image Mrs. LaLaurie presented was a mask for a woman who treated her slaves inhumanely. Rumor had it she chained her cook to the stove, but that was mild in comparison to what was later discovered she did to her slaves –who always seemed to be mysteriously disappearing.
When a fire broke out in the house, firefighters found over a dozen slaves and the bodies of slaves in the LaLaurie’s attic. The mutilation and torture they endured was beyond disgusting. It’s no wonder if ever a place was a haunted by spirits who were so horribly abused in life, it’s the LaLaurie Mansion. (To read more of exactly what type of mutilation was done to them, see The Most Haunted House in New Orleans.)
Reports of paranormal activity range from apparitions to sounds of crying and moaning.